Head Lines

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

As many of you know, I have three kids. Or, maybe I should refer to them as “adults.” In any event, and regardless of label, I have a 23-year-old, a 21-year-old and a 19-year-old.

As many of you also know, my weekly blog submissions over the past several years have focussed on kids, education and parenting. Often, all three at once.

I am finding that the ideas that generate my blog posts are increasingly originating from my professional experiences, rather than my personal experiences, as my “kids” have effectively left home.

For many of you with kids attending TCS, the idea of your children graduating high school, going to university or college, moving out, turning 21, getting a job, getting married, buying a house, having their own kids, etc., appears such a long way off. It did to me too; seemingly only yesterday this was my view.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Using weather conditions and climate as a metaphor for life’s experiences is hardly unique. From Shakespeare (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) to the Mamas and the Papas (“All the leaves are brown”) and Vivaldi (Four Seasons) to the Beatles (Here Comes the Sun), the natural world around us is often connected to some of life’s most enduring memories.

In my own experience, having grown up in Montreal and Ottawa (where there are real winters), snowstorms today provide an opportunity for me to reflect upon my childhood, lessons learned early in life and the passage of time.

Monday’s snowstorm in Ontario and Quebec, with the resulting cancellation of in-person schooling for students across much of the two provinces, was a trigger for me. Allow me to reminisce a bit about the seasons of my life.

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

In an effort to provide a wee bit of variety to my weekly blog, I thought it would be interesting to hear from some of my colleagues on matters of educational interest. This week, Mr. Brandon Black shares his thoughts on community. Mr. Black has been teaching at the School since 2017, as a member of the Senior School English department, and among his other responsibilities, coaches rugby.

Written by Mr. Brandon Black

Think back to your favourite memories of high school; what do you see? What do you remember? Who do you remember? I suspect in those moments you’re envisioning time with friends in the cafeteria, after-school practices with your team on the court or field, co-curricular clubs where you were able to meet new people, that one science class with the crazy experiment, and that one teacher who made a difference.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2022

And, so begins the 2022 calendar year! It’s customary at this time of year to plan and set goals for the next 12 months. But during these most unusual times, you might wonder what’s the point of planning anything, when there are so many variables that are simply out of our control.

However, I think goal-setting is still possible – and important. Sure, we will likely need to shift and change and pivot and adjust along the way – but that’s nothing new.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The approaching New Year often prompts reflection. As this is my last blog post for the 2021 calendar year, I thought that I would focus on the positive. Particularly those positive moments that took place here at TCS.

The past year has been a challenging time, no doubt, for people the world over. But despite these challenges, or maybe in many ways because of them – because of our determination to continue to push forward, to increasingly value our time together, to further prioritize our mental well-being and recognize our resilience – I think it is important to celebrate the many good things, and good people, that brought light to a difficult year.

Here is a partial list of the things that contributed to this being such a memorable year for me:

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Thursday, December 09, 2021

Some recent data on the state of world happiness shows growing evidence to support the counterintuitive notion that, the more you have, the less happy you are.

In a study by the Rand Institute which surveyed young people (defined as ages 16-32) in “developed countries,” it appears that these young people, in the most affluent circumstances, are less happy than people of the same age living in the developing world. And, further, the aforementioned young people in the developed world are significantly less happy than they were 10 years ago. Once again, we are reminded that having more “stuff” doesn’t make you necessarily happier.

So following that thought through, maybe the common parenting sentiment, “I give to my children because I just want them to be happy,” isn’t the best way to go about things. It appears that trying to make your kids happier can make them less happy.

The previous paragraph should hardly come as a surprise.

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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Sir Ken Robinson has long been one of my most favourite academics, authors and speakers on the subject of education. He was a former professor of arts education at the University of Warwick in England; he was knighted for his service to the arts in 2003. I was saddened to learn of his passing in August of 2020. But, thankfully, the insights and knowledge he shared so freely live on through his books and his TED Talks.

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Thursday, November 25, 2021

It’s an interesting question to pose: What do you most like and dislike about your chosen profession? Also, why did you choose that profession in the first place? I am sure that the majority of responses include both “pull factors” (things that attract you to the job) and “push factors” (things that you wouldn’t want to do in other jobs).

Having a purposeful job, that helps other people, was a very big pull factor for me when deciding to enter the profession of teaching. Washing windows, on a suspended platform 38 floors above ground level, was a major push factor, given my aversion to heights; thankfully, teachers most often operate on ground level.

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Up until the year 2003, the Ontario education system included five years of secondary education. In other words, students did not graduate after Grade 12; they graduated after Grade 13.

I graduated after Grade 13. Then, after university, I taught kids at the Grade 13 level. I was a HUGE fan of Grade 13. I still am.

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Elie Wiesel was a Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. His parents and sister perished. Mr. Wiesel survived and went on to study philosophy, became a teacher, and a professional journalist and author. It took him years to be able to write about his experiences and observations relating to the Second World War.

Mr. Wiesel’s speech on April 12, 1999, to the President of the United States and members of the U.S. Congress, as part of the Clinton government’s White House Millennium Series, remains one of the most impactful speeches I have ever heard. The title of his speech was, “The Perils of Indifference: Lessons From A Violent Century.” It is widely regarded as one of the greatest speeches of all time. I encourage you to read or watch his speech in its entirety. (You may watch it here.)

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